Sunday, June 8, 2008

Mostly Alone Long(ish) Run

13.09 miles, 1:47:22 (plus 2:55 of water breaks), 8:11 pace, Max HR = 161, Average HR = 146, 82 degrees, 76% humidity, 15% Z4, 80% Z3

I promised Joe and Jack from the Tornados that I'd be there at 6AM for a long run today, but I set my alarm clock for 5PM instead of 5AM and missed them. I was able to get out to the park by 7AM and expected to run alone. As I started I saw Tom and his girlfriend Kathy, so I followed them for about three miles before they headed home.

I could tell that Kathy was a serious runner after watching her for just a second. You can tell when someone knows what they're doing. For instance, I was watching my new favorite TV show the other day, Corner Gas, and there was an episode about a running club. The character Karen, played by Tara Spencer-Nairn, jogged for about five steps and I could tell that she had some talent. I did five minutes of research just now, and I found out that she was a competitive gymnast. Check out this interview question:
Mark: So, can you run pretty fast then?
Tara Spencer-Nairn: I'm pretty good...

Not exactly evidence of an Olympic gold in track, but the point is that there is a world of difference between a hacker like me and a professional -- and it's easy to tell the difference without looking at a stopwatch.

Back to Kathy. I found out that she had a career as a competitive runner, finishing sixth in the 1982 Marathon with a 2:41:12. (That's the "Duel in the Sun" marathon where Salazar and Beardsley competed.) She also finished fourth place in the Pan American Games marathon in 1987. I could tell she knew what she was doing.

We parted ways in the Tanglewood area, a nice stretch of expensive homes along the Houston Marathon route. As I've mentioned before, I seize the opportunity to run along the course whenever I can.

I've often wondered what these wealthy people think about people running through their neighborhoods. Do they embrace it or do they get upset when we make noise by talking before dawn, blow snot-rockets on their pavement, and set up impromptu water stops in their medians? Personally I'd love it if I lived on a popular running route, and I'd do my best to accommodate the runners. There is a house along the running route around the Baton Rouge lake near LSU that installed a water fountain for runners. (How did you like all of those prepositions in that last sentence!?) I'd be that guy, and I might even install a dog fountain as well. Other people will set up sprinklers -- probably more for their lawn than runners, but it's appreciated nonetheless.

So, back to the run. Since I started late I had to deal with the heat and the boredom of running alone. I ran up and down Tanglewood, and then through River Oaks for the first time as a solo runner. By looking at the map it doesn't look hard to navigate, but I'm always concerned about getting lost through there. After River Oaks I headed back to Memorial Park along Memorial Drive (from Shepherd). That 1.5 mile stretch along Memorial is really ugly, and I wish the city would put up some green space to separate runners from the traffic. A trail along the bayou back to the park would be fantastic, but probably cost prohibitive.

After that it was a half loop around the park back to my car. It was nice to see some fellow Tornados after the run with refreshments. I also helped myself to a couple of their water/Gatorade stops along my route today. It's nice to be a part of the team.

All in all this was a good run, even though I'd prefer to be about 20-30 seconds faster per mile -- especially on the later miles when I start to tire.

8:12, 8:24, 8:17, 7:54, 7:58, 7:58, 8:20, 8:10, 8:20, 8:29, 8:19, 8:28, 8:14

TDLY - 6/8/08 - Low Motivation Rest Day. Blog Entry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the nice comments. I also like to tour neighbborhoods, and hate the Memorial stretch. To miss it, when you leave River Oaks, cross Shepherd bridge, then cross Memorial, turn left toward the park then a quick right, up the hill on Sandman beside Depelchin. Go about 4-5 blocks north, then and take a left down Blossom to the park. There is a trail from Crestwood into the park that will get your new shoes dirty. It was nice meeting you, one of the fun things about our sport.